The fastest man ever over the distance placed second in his semi-final to qualify automatically for the final after a photo finish saw him end the race just three-hundredths of a second ahead of Jonathan Jones of Barbados.
While the world record holder - who set his fastest time of 43.03 six years ago in the Olympic final at Rio 2016 - has struggled with injury and form issues over recent times, he remains one of the most popular athletes in sport.
The 2016 Olympic champion and twice-crowned African champion, crashed out in the semi-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will be looking to bounce back to winning ways in Oregon.
Find out how you can watch Van Niekerk and all the action from the 400m competition at the World Championships below.
Wayde van Niekerk at 2022 Track & Field Worlds: 400m final challengers
Van Niekerk will line up in the 400m final on Friday 22 July at 19:35, and will once again be one of the favourites for gold after his heroics at Beijing 2015 and London 2017.
Those hoping to challenge him for gold in Oregon include Grenada's 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James, who has experienced a resurgence in form after being diagnosed with Graves disease in 2017. James successfully navigated his semi-final, looking in impressive form as he came home first in 44.74.
Another challenger for the world title is Michael Norman, who will compete in front of a home crowd in Oregon after topping his semi in 44.30.
However, one name absent from the starting list on Friday is the USA's Michael Cherry who could only finish fourth in a disappointing 45.28 seconds in heat 2.
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Wayde VAN NIEKERK
How to watch the 400m final and all the action at the 2022 Track & Field Worlds
In the United States, NBC holds the broadcast rights to the World Championships. Coverage is on USA Network, NBC, and CNBC, and streamed on Peacock and the NBC Sports website – check listings for further details.
Canadians can watch the action on the CBC, while in the United Kingdom, BBC Sport is carrying live coverage. A full list of broadcasters around the world can be found here.
You can also stay tuned to Olympics.com as we bring you live blog updates from every session of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, as well as features and previews from all the key events.